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Lockdown raises fresh doubts about next week’s Gabba Test

Clouds are hanging over the hosting rights for next week’s Gabba Test with Brisbane set to go into a hard three-day lockdown on Friday to contain a highly infectious strain of the coronavirus.The venue for the final match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was already in doubt after India raised concerns its players would be quarantined…

Clouds are hanging over the hosting rights for next week’s Gabba Test with Brisbane set to go into a hard three-day lockdown on Friday to contain a highly infectious strain of the coronavirus.

The venue for the final match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was already in doubt after India raised concerns its players would be quarantined inside their hotel rooms during their stay.

Now Greater Brisbane will enter lockdown on Friday evening as authorities fight to contain a strain of COVID-19 which has been described as “incredibly contagious” by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Until 6pm Monday, residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential work, healthcare reasons, and shopping and exercise in their neighbourhoods.

Queensland Health has also mandated the wearing of masks while outdoors.

The drastic restrictions come the day after genomic testing confirmed a cleaner at a quarantine hotel had contracted the contagious strain of the virus.

The woman in her 20s, who got tested as soon as she was symptomatic, was unknowingly infectious in the community for five days.

While Queensland recorded zero cases of community transmission on Friday — along with nine in hotel quarantine — authorities say they are “going hard” as the mutant variant is believed to be up to 70 per cent more infectious than the original strain.

No decision has been made on moving the Test and Ms Palaszczuk said that the government was in talks with Cricket Australia.

“Still positive talks at this stage,” she said.

However there is the possibility that the SCG, which is currently hosting the third Test, could be called upon to replace the Gabba.

Both the Australian and Indian squads were set to travel to Brisbane on Tuesday ahead of the start of the fourth Test on Friday.

Under health guidelines which were already agreed upon, players would be restricted from leaving their hotels outside of training and playing but would be allowed to roam the hotels and inside communal areas.

The powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India is worried that Cricket Australia will not be in charge of biosecurity measures and the government could make sudden alterations to the rules which would lock players inside their rooms.

The BCCI has sought assurances that players will be allowed to mingle with each other inside their biosecurity bubble.

Queensland Health has been approached for comment.

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